Chad Table of Contents
Christianity arrived in Chad in the twentieth century, shortly after the colonial conquest. Contrary to the dominant pattern in some other parts of Africa, however, where the colonial powers encouraged the spread of the faith, the earliest French officials in Chad advised against it. This recommendation, however, probably reflected European paternalism and favoritism toward Islam rather than a display of liberalism. In any case, the French military administration followed such counsel for the first two decades of the century, the time it took to conquer the new colony and establish control over its people. Following World War I, however, official opposition to Christianity softened, and the government tolerated but did not sponsor missionaries.
Since World War II, Chadian Christians have had a far greater influence on Chadian life than their limited numbers suggest. The missions spread the ideology of Westernization--the notion that progress depended on following European models of development. Even more specifically, Roman Catholic mission education spread the French language. Ironically, even though Islam spread more quickly and more widely than Christianity, Christians controlled the government that inherited power from the French. These leaders imparted a Western orientation that continued to dominate in the 1980s.
Data as of December 1988